Giveaways Smugglivus

Countdown to Smugglivus – Maria V. Snyder

Day 2 (24 Days to Smugglivus and counting)

Who: Maria V. Snyder, author of the bestselling Study series. Maria exploded on the scene in 2005 with her debut novel, Poison Study, and has since gained a huge following of fans (we smugglers included). Maria has graciously offered a giveaway with her Smugglivus post–details follow at the end!

Recent Work: Earlier this year, the third book in Maria’s Study series, Fire Study was released (check out our review HERE). Following the book release, Maria was one of our first interviews here at The Book Smugglers.

But that’s enough from us–please give it up for the fabulous Maria V. Snyder!


First off, I’d like to thank the Book Smugglers for inviting me to their Smugglivus! Thank You! And I want to wish them a Happy Holidays and an early Happy Anniversary, too 🙂

As part of the Smugglivus celebration, I’m giving away a free signed copy of the new YA edition of Poison Study to one lucky commenter to this blog (randomly drawn of course!).

2008 was a wonderful book year for me as an author. My third Study book, Fire Study came out in March and spent two weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List!! I was rather surprised, and thrilled. Making the NYT list is one of those career highlights and milestones for an author. Publishers are in the business to sell books, and being on the list helps them.

This month my other two Study books, Poison Study and Magic Study are being re-released as Young Adult (YA) books. They have new cover art (see below) and are cheaper. Plus they have the map of the world for those readers who like maps 🙂

The Study series has always had YA readers. Many of the emails I receive are from readers ages 12 to 18 who enjoyed the books. Obviously, YAs are finding books they enjoy in the adult section. But I’m seeing a trend the past couple of years of more YA titles by adult authors. I think the publishers have finally figured out that, yes – YAs read books. And not only are the YAs reading them, but their parent’s are, too. Harry Potter anyone? The Twilight series?

When I joined the SF Novelist group (, the number of adult science fiction and fantasy writers outnumbered the few YA writers. In 2006, I had just sold a YA SF, and it was an unusual thing for our group. Now, a bunch of them have YA proposals out to their agents and editors.

I’m curious what other readers think about all these new YA books. Is it a trend or just a fad?

I enjoy reading books marketed to young adults for many reasons. First, my children are reading them. If I read the book, we have something besides school to talk about. I’m going to admit this in public… *looks over shoulder* …my son doesn’t like to read! He has read all my books, but when I try to get him interested in anything else, he says, “I only like your books, Mom. You need to write faster.” Smooth – isn’t he? Well, he finally got excited about a book – The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. He loved the series and I did, too. It was a fun book, perfect for a reluctant 13 year old reader – not overly complex or horrific.

This brings me to the other reason I read YA books. They tend to be more straight forward with the plot and not have as many complicated subplots. My life is complicated enough, I want a book I can read and enjoy in a few days. I’m a slow reader. Also I read them because I’m writing books marketed to young adults, and want to see why certain YA books are popular.

As a writer, I’m not changing my writing style or “dumbing down” my word choice because a book of mine is going to be categorize as “YA.” Not at all. But I’m making sure the issues my characters face are similar to what young adults are facing today. And my dialogue is realistic!

Since I write down all the books I read each year, I can look back through 2008 and see I read 10 YA books, 7 fantasy books, 5 mystery novels, 2 non-fiction books, 1 romance, 1 science fiction, and 1 horror anthology. Total of 27 books – not bad for me. When my kids were little, I only read an average of 14 books a year. My best year was 52 books ;> that was when I was in high school!

For 2009, my next book, Storm Glass is being released as an adult title on April 28, 2009 and Sea Glass is being released in September 2009. Two books from me in one year is unprecedented 🙂 I also have another book, Storm Watchers coming out in the fall of 2009 – this book is aimed at middle grade readers ages 8-12.

Here’s the cover copy for Storm Glass:

“As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.”

And the first chapter is up at

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season! Thanks again for inviting me to Smugglivus!


Thank you Maria! Now for the Giveaway:

As mentioned in her post, Maria is offering ONE SIGNED COPY of the new YA edition of POISON STUDY. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment here! The contest closes on Saturday, December 6 at midnight (Pacific Standard Time). Good luck!

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  • Marg
    December 2, 2008 at 2:39 am

    I really enjoyed the first two books in the Study series. I haven’t yet read the third one, but I do intend too!

    I can’t wait to get hold of Maria’s new books next year!

  • tetewa
    December 2, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Sounds like a great series my niece would enjoy!

  • kmont
    December 2, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Hi, Maria! Love your Study series and I’m really looking forward to Storm Glass. 🙂

    I agree that YA books don’t need to be dumbed down and yes, they can obviously make great reads for adults too. Twilight and HP – oh yeah, I went there too and enjoyed all of them.

    There have been a couple though that I felt were way too simplified, but that’s just one opinion. I do love it though when I read a YA that obviosuly isn’t afraid to go for the details. Have to be honest, I didn’t think at first that your Study series would make a good YA series (I thought some of the stuff was kind of scary for young kids), but if your books are attracting young readers and they enjoy them and are into reading because of that, then I think it’s great. I’ll definitely suggest the Study books for my daughter one day…just have to gauge I suppose when she would best be able to handle some of the scarier elements.

  • CrystalGB
    December 2, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like a great series. 🙂

  • Anna
    December 2, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I have read all three Study book and loved every minute. Sometimes I have a hard time getting into fantasy, but these books just sucke me in. I can’t wait to read the books to come.


  • dan phi
    December 2, 2008 at 9:15 am

    They look like some fun books.

  • Cindy W
    December 2, 2008 at 9:24 am

    I’d LOVE to win!

  • Bunny B
    December 2, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I’d love to read this!! Thanks!

    bunnybx at gmail . com

  • Thea
    December 2, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Thank you again, Maria for the wonderful post!

    In regards to the YA trend/fad question, I think that it’s both. Right now, YA novels are certainly very ‘hot’–riding on the success of HP and Twilight. But, I also think it’s fair to say that YA novels have always been a significant part of the publishing market, and have been steadily growing before this huge spike. I, for one, have been reading YA novels ever since I was a young adult :p

    And a lot of that is because it is such a broad audience–parents, adults, grandparents, teens, etc will read YA novels.

    I can definitely see the Study books have a YA slant and will certainly appeal to readers of all ages–I have a little sister (almost 11 years old now!) who I love passing my YA books to, and I’ll be sure to get her Poison Study.

    (By the way, the new covers are gorgeous–you have definitely been blessed with the Good Cover Fairy for all your covers! And I love that these YA versions will include maps! Oh, my kingdom for maps. I love them, need to have them in my fantasy novels especially!)

    I cannot wait to read Storm Glass, Sea Glass and Storm Watchers!

  • katayoun
    December 2, 2008 at 9:49 am

    i’ve wanted to read the study books for a while now, have seen very good reviews everywhere and i know that i would really like them.

  • Thea
    December 2, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Marg–definitely give Fire Study a read 🙂 I really enjoyed it, finished it in one sitting. Maria does action packed plot so very well!

    Tetewa–I would definitely recommend the Study books to anyone (young and old alike!). I hope your niece enjoys them!

    Kmont–Ooh interesting. I have a question for you: as you’ve read HP and the Study books, do you think the Study series has scarier elements than HP? I love both series’, but definitely in the last three HP books, things get pretty dark indeed. And I love that about the books–they don’t try to shield young adults from these darker, scarier elements. Another example I can think of is Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy–again very dark, dealing with death and evil, but still very readable for YAs (I read these books when I was young too and loved the scariness).

    Crystal GB–The Study series is pretty solid 🙂 I’d recommend it especially for those who are new to fantasy.

    Anna–I definitely agree with you. For romance fans, or new readers of fantasy, this is an ideal series 🙂

    Dan, Cindy and Bunny B–Thanks for entering, and I hope you all get a chance to try out these books!

  • bamabelle
    December 2, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I’ve been reading quite a bit of YA books lately. Yours look amazing! I’ll have to check them out. I love the covers too!

  • M.
    December 2, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Bless the Smugglers for inviting authors who give primo recommendations for reluctant young male readers! I’ve madly scribbled all these titles to go check out for my 11 y.o. who can’t seem to move past manga graphic novels. Which have their place, but now its time for something new!

    The upcoming weather-related series sounds intriguing. I wonder if the author was influenced by recent catastrophic geographic events?

  • orannia
    December 2, 2008 at 11:27 am

    HI Maria *waves*

    I’m trying to work out how I have not seen or heard of your books! I must have been living in a paper bag of late, which isn’t actually that far from the truth 🙂 I do have a question – is there an actual content difference between the adult and YA versions of the Study books? I’m just wondering which I should read? (Oh, and the YA covers are gorgeous!)

    If you don’t mind the impertinence, has your son tried Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books? I love them!

    BTW, the snippet of Storm Glass sounds amazing! I’m definitely going to read the first chapter 🙂

  • Tiah
    December 2, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Dang, more books to add to my “I have to own this” list.

    My poor baby will just have to raise himself!!

  • Zeek
    December 2, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Love the new book covers!

    Ms. Snyder is lovely and her books are fanastic!

  • Dan
    December 2, 2008 at 11:55 am

    My daughter enjoys these books. Would love to give a signed copy to my neice for Christmas.

  • Maria V. Snyder
    December 2, 2008 at 11:56 am


    Wow lot’s of great comments!

    I worried, too about the content for younger readers – and, No, Orannia the content was not changed for the YA edition – and when my 10 year old daughter wanted to read the books, I thought no way. But she’s an advance reader and she read all three without any trouble. The only thing she “yelled” at me for, was Tula in Magic Study – not for what she endured, but what happened to her after (I know sounds vague, but I don’t want to give anything away 🙂

    A couple younger readers told me they just skimmed over the “bad” stuff.

    I agree with you Thea – the cover fairy has blessed me! Did you see Storm Glass’s cover? I love it! A friend just helped me change my Myspace layout based on Storm’s cover.

    M – The weather elements in my books aren’t based on recent events, but on the fact I was a meteorologist in a past life (before being an author 🙂 My weather plots are an attempt to prove to my parents I’m still using that college degree! 🙂

    This is so much fun! I’ll check back again to answer anymore questions!

  • Anonymous
    December 2, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    The new covers rock. These are som of the best books I have ever read. Thank-you for writing them!

  • Brooke
    December 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Beautiful covers, these sound great!

  • Renee
    December 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I love the Study series, and am eagerly awaiting Storm Glass. BTW, the covers of all the editions are beautiful!

    I read YA books, and hope they are here to stay. I was a big reader when I was younger, and would have loved the variety of YA books that are now available. (Among them, those by authors Melissa Marr, Celia Rees, Eoin Colfer, and Phillip Pullman.)

    I hadn’t thought about the Study series being YA, but now have to give some thought to getting it for my niece!

  • Carolyn Jean
    December 2, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I have been wanting to read your books for a while now – I’m so glad to be reminded, because they’ve been on my list…book smugglers, did you maybe have something to do with that? But you know, I NEVER read YA. I don’t know why. Congrats on hitting the Times list!

  • kmont
    December 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Thea, good Q About HP vs. the Study books. I think, and here I hang my head for my one hang-up in books it seems these days, it’s because of the nature of the way magic is stolen from Yelena and other girls in the Study books. Maria knows exactly what I speak of, I see from her comments. I don’t want to give away anything either, so I won’t say what that element was either.

    But Maria, it’s interesting that your daughter was cool with it. I think that kids these days, while certainly needing protection from their parents, are probably far more able to handle some things than we’d initially think. And their maturity levels vary from age to age.

    But Thea, back to your Q, I guess I never looked at the HP books as potentially scary for kids till about book five. From there though, I would definitely think carefully about when would be a good age for my daughter to one day read them. Again, it all depends on her maturity level…and at the rate she’s going (and only 3 yrs old now), she may well be reading books like Poison Study and the Harry Potter books before she’s a teen too!

    As for which series is scarier – I think both could possibly be equally so for kids, each seems to have that same level/attention to detail, but it’s a kid-by-kid kind of thing. If they already scare easily, maybe the books would be scary for them. Parents should be able to tell what makes their kids tick and go from there. Heck, mine already loves Hellboy, and I thought it might be too racy for her at first. I stuck to her side like glue the first few times she watched it 😀

  • donnas
    December 2, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Great interview. I read the first book and loved it, cant wait to get my hands on the second two and the two new ones for next year.

  • Kris
    December 2, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    It’s my first time commenting on The Book Smugglers so pardon the invasion!, but I couldn’t resist as The Study series is one that I’ve been eyeing for some time now and this interview clinched it for me. *must add to my Christmas wish list*

    Re: YA novels-I’ve been watching the increase in the number of adult fiction authors now writing for the YA market with great interest. Maybe it’s just me, but there are some sf authors whose work for adults I won’t even contemplate reading yet I really enjoy their YA books. For me, I think it’s the fact that some sf authors seem to lose the story and characters through overly complex and dense language. As I said, maybe it’s just me??

  • orannia
    December 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you very much for answering my question Maria! I’m very excited – my library has your books (I *heart* my library) so I’ve got Poison Study on my list and I’m looking forward to reading it over Christmas!

    And I’ve written down Storm Glass. The first chapter has me very intrigued! Question – are both the Study books and the Glass books set in the same world? (Apologies – that is probably a very obvious question, but not so much for a newbie 🙂

  • orannia
    December 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Sorry! I have one more question 🙁 I always seem to have one more question 🙂

    If the Study and Glass books are set in the same world, should I read the Study books first please? (Which is absolutely no hardship 🙂

  • AnimeJune
    December 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Wow! Interesting post!

    I read a lot of fantasy before I got into romance, and talking with fantasy authors, they have a huge connection to YA, too – lots of their books are categorized as YA because they have a teenaged protagonist and some authors took issue with that. Not that they didn’t like YA, but they thought in the opposite direction: just as young adults can read stories about, er, grown-ups, can’t grown-ups read stories about teenagers?

    That being said YA and children’s fiction are excellent opportunities to find good fantasy writing – I mean, think about all the children’s classics you still read that are fantasies/sci-fi – I’m thinking Madeline L’Engle and Lloyd Alexander, etc.

  • orannia
    December 2, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    AnimeJune – I loved Lloyd Alexander Prydain series! And what about Susan Cooper’s When the Dark is Rising series? Oh, and Edward Eager’s Magic series. And I still re-read them 🙂

  • Takara
    December 2, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I absolutely LOVE the series! The characters are phenomenal, the story really pulls you in to where even if you’re not reading it at the moment, you’re still thinking about it. It’s absolutely fantastic, and I really can not wait for Storm Glass to come out!

  • Natalie Duvall
    December 2, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Love the new covers! I also am one of those fans of maps in books. 🙂

  • macbeaner
    December 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Sounds like a really cool series 🙂

  • Maria V. Snyder
    December 2, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Hello again! Nice to see a few familiar names 🙂

    Kris- you make a good point about the trend in adult authors writing for YAs. I find some of the adult sf/f novels are bogged down with details of the setting and world and technology, while the ones for YAs focus more on the characters and their struggles that lead to change. A reader once told me my fantasy books were accessible – that I didn’t clog the story with strange languages and unpronounceable names 🙂 Fantasy Lite – LOL

    Then I get the traditional fantasy readers telling me the language sounds too modern and that’s not how they spoke in medieval times, and certain words I used didn’t even exist. They’re right about the lanaguage, but since Ixia and Sitia are not set in medieval times and is a fantasy world created by me, I think I’m safe with my word choice 🙂

    Kmont – you made a good point – books for YA readers should be made on a kid by kid basis. I liked what my daughter’s one teacher told her – if there are more than five words you don’t understand on one page, then the book is too advanced for you.

    Orannia – Yes – Storm Glass is set in the same world as the Study books. I tried to write each book as its own story, but if you’re going to start – the best way is to start with Poison Study, then Magic, Fire and Storm.

    The main protagonist in Storm Glass, Opal has a small role in Magic and a little bigger role in Fire. Storm Glass is set 5 years after the events in Fire because I needed Opal to grow up a little 🙂

    When I started with Yelena, her age had to match the magic in the world. Magic starts at puberty – then she spent time ahh…being a laboratory assistant…then some time in the dungeon. By my calculations, she’s about 19 at the start of the book.

    I don’t mind reading about a younger protagonist – as long as it’s realistic. Some YA characters are just way to smart for their ages.

  • Courtney
    December 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Maria,

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your study series and have suggested them to so many people I can’t even count. Every time you come out with new covers I have to run out and get the set so I guess I’m going to be getting this new set son which is perfectly great with me. I can’t wait until the glass series is released! I’m so excited.

  • Susan
    December 2, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  • Kris
    December 2, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    ‘Fantasy Lite’. ROFL. Do you mean all the richness and goodness w/o the big-word calories?? Thanks for taking the time to respond, Maria. It’s been a terrific interview.

  • Karin
    December 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I really like the YA covers for your books. They’re very appealing. YA books have definitely been catching a lot of attention lately, but I’m not sure if it’s a trend or a fad. I remember really enjoying the Anne of Green Gables series when I was growing up, but it all started because it was a book my mom and I read together. I think there’s a lot to be said about a book that both parents and their children can enjoy.

  • MEME
    December 3, 2008 at 5:18 am

    I’m Back!!! LOL

    OK just wanted to say that the new cover are really pretty and I cant wait for storm glass. I have read all the study books and want more, yes me greedy hehe, You are an amazing writer thank you for all the wonderful stories.

  • Tanya
    December 3, 2008 at 6:38 am

    great interview..the cover art is amazing…I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.

  • bridget3420
    December 3, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I have not read any of your books but I would love the chance to win one. I am an avid reader and am always looking for new authors to feed my addiction.

  • I Heart Book Gossip
    December 3, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Ohh what a cool series. Please enter me into the contest too.

  • Emily
    December 4, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I was really drawn the the Study series because of the old covers. But now seeing the new covers, they are even more awesome! Poison Study has been on the top of my list to read for ages and I can’t wait to read it now after reading the interview!

  • Janell
    December 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I would love to be entered in the contest. I am just discovering all the exciting YA titles available to read as my grandchildren grow. It’s a wonderful new world of books to explore with them.

  • Sena
    December 4, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    These look like a cool series! Please count me in this giveaway!

  • McHenry
    December 5, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I so enjoyed the Study series and since I’m a teen librarian, I’m very glad to see another very good adult author crossover to young adult. Now I have something to recommend to the teens here.


  • wonderings
    December 5, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Please enter me in the contest. I’ve had this series on my List for awhile – must move it up to be read soon…

  • LadyVampire2u
    December 5, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    This is an all new series to me but after reading the interview, I’d really like to read these books. So thanks for entering me in your contest and Happy Holidays to you.


  • Margay
    December 6, 2008 at 5:41 am

    YA is not just for kids anymore, I like reading it, too! This series sounds fascinati

  • Ana
    December 7, 2008 at 10:47 am

    The contest is now close. Thanks for all the comments.

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